GOP tops Democrats on generic congressional ballot as economic issues dominate: poll

Associated Press/Andres Kudacki

Republicans have retaken the lead on the generic congressional ballot amid rising economic concerns among voters, according to a new Monmouth University poll released on Monday.

Forty-seven percent of Americans said they either want the GOP to recapture control of Congress this year or are at least leaning toward the party ahead of the November midterm elections, compared to 44 percent who said the same about Democrats.

That marks a major shift since August, when 50 percent said that they prefer that Democrats keep control of Congress. At the time, 43 percent of Americans said that they were leaning toward Republicans.

One of the factors driving the apparent movement toward the GOP may be a heightened interest in the economy as the top issue for voters heading into the final month before Election Day. Eighty-two percent of Americans pointed to inflation as their top priority, while 68 percent said that jobs and unemployment were the most important factors for their vote.

Abortion rights, which have taken on increased importance for many Americans in recent months, remains a top issue; 56 percent of respondents said it is their most important priority.

Still, the poll suggests that the pocketbook issues could ultimately overshadow concerns over reproductive rights and the fate of American democracy come November — an argument that Republicans continued to make even as Democrats gained momentum following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark abortion rights case.

Patrick Murray, the director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, said that one of the biggest issues for Democrats is that their messaging strategy — focusing on reproductive rights, threats to democracy and climate change, among other issues — is “all over the place when it comes to their key issues.

“This makes it difficult for the party to create a cohesive messaging strategy to motivate its base,” Murray said. “Republicans, on the other hand, just have to hammer away at rising prices and ‘the wolf is at the door’ to get their voters riled up.”

At the same time, few Americans give President Biden credit for his handling of key issues. Only 3 in 10 Americans say they approve of how he’s approaching inflation. He gets similar marks for his handling of other concerns, like crime, according to the Monmouth poll.

His overall approval rating remains underwater, with 38 percent giving him positive marks and 54 percent expressing disapproval.

The Monmouth poll surveyed 806 U.S. adults by telephone from Sept. 21-25. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percent points.

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